One of the (many) great tragedies of yesterday was this.

I don’t write about politics on this blog.

But what happened at The Capitol yesterday wasn’t politics.

It was a riot.  It was an insurrection.  It was a criminal act.

And yes, the fuse was lit by an ego-filled, selfish, “I-don’t-even-care-for-the-futures-of-the-people-who-follow me,” “leader.”

There were so many tragedies.

A woman died.  Lawyers who hid under desks will be haunted by that fear for a long time to come.  Leaders around there world were laughing at us.

And for me, there was another great loss over the course of this election battle that we will never, ever get back.

Time.

Several elected officials from one faction of one party, followed the drumbeat of a despot.  They pursued fraudulent claims (for their own personal gain) that were refuted over and over again, included by the highest court in the land.

To them, I say this . . .

Folks, this thing was over.  Done.  You literally had your day in court.  And you lost.

But no . . . you kept going.  When you knew what the outcome would be.  Yes, my non-friends, the definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting different results.  And this was insane . . . as evident from what you witnessed personally yesterday.

Now, when someone who is not a politician pursues something a bit bonkers in their own life, I don’t care so much.  It’s their life.

But you are congresspeople.  Your job is to help better the country.

And there was so much more you could have done with the countless hours you spent pursuing something that had been refuted 147 times, that you knew you would never win.

But you wasted everyone’s time anyway.  For what?

Imagine for a moment . . . how much good could have been done if instead of wasting your own time, money, and resources fighting baseless claims and therefore wasted the time, money, and resources of those who had to refute those claims, you had used that time, money and resources on something that actually could make the lives of the people of this country better???

  • What if all that time was spent working on better ideas for vaccine distribution?
  • What if all that time was spent on brainstorming solutions to the issues of systemic racism in this country?
  • What if all that time was spent at an effin’ soup kitchen?

As I said on Tuesday if there is one thing this pandemic has taught us is that life is short.  Life is so short.

And if we want better lives, we must make use of the time we have.

Every member of Congress has an obligation to use the resources they have to better their district . . . and therefore their state . . . and therefore their country . . . and therefore the world.  Those who waste time not only don’t help, they hurt devastate.

Oh, and at the same time, they can also incite violence.

They won’t go to jail.  But those who stormed the Capitol will.  Good job, folks.  Way to help your people.

Now, what can you do about it?

Two things . . .

  1.  Vote for those who take advantage of the short time we have to make the world a better place.  (Need an example of a Politician, Leader, Hero who wastes NO time?  Stacey Abrams.)
  2. Take advantage of the short time you have in this life to work on things that can have the biggest impact on your life.  Life. Is. Short.

There.  End of rant.

Ratatouille Musical review tomorrow.

– – – – –

Speaking of time, take our “Take Charge of your ‘2021’ Theatermakers challenge and learn how some of the most successful in our business and making this their best year yet . . . despite what happens in Washington!

 

 

Take The “Take Charge of your ’21” Challenge with me and these super TheaterMakers!

Let’s agree on two things.

1.  This year is going to be better than last year.
 
2.  How much better depends on you.
 
If you agree (especially with that 2nd part), then read on.  If you don’t agree, please stop reading. And I’ll see you on Thursday when I review the Ratatouille TikTok musical.
 
Everyone where they should be?
 
Great.
 
Ok, look, truth time. We’ve got some work to do. We lost a year of theater-making. And the theaters aren’t even lit . . . yet.
 
But they will be. And sooner than you think.
 
As I type, that vaccine is getting put into the arms of people all over the world.
 
And all over that world, Producers, Theater Owners, Artistic Directors, Casting Directors, etc. are setting specific dates for the return of our art.
 
Which means it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
 
That’s right . . . get to work. Not wait for work. Big difference.
 
Most people wait for the phone to ring. Most people wait for someone to hire them. Most people wait.
 
That’s why most people don’t work.
 
But those TheaterMakers out there who take charge of their own career? Well, for them? Things have a way of always “working” out.
 
In 2020, the year took charge of us. Me included. It was like a @#$%ing bucking bronco that none of us could tame.
 
This year, we’ve got a tighter grip on the reins. And it’s time we take charge of it and make it work for us, instead of the other way around.
 
And I don’t think there has EVER been a more important time to make a commitment like this to yourself and to the theater.
 
See, if I learned one thing in 2020 it was this . . . LIFE IS SHORT.
 
You never know when your work will be taken away. You never know when a life will be taken away.  (I think about you every dad, Dad – and you continue to inspire me to do challenge myself.)
You never know . . . anything.
 
And for those of us out there who want to achieve a lot in the theatre (or in life!) . . . whether that is writing shows, producing shows, acting in shows, directing shows, designing shows or whatever . . . we know now, we don’t have any time to waste.
 
We know that more than ANY OTHER INDUSTRY on the planet.
 
Which is why the time to act is now.
 
Which is also why the TheaterMakersStudio is holding a free 5-Day “Take Charge of Your ’21” TheaterMakers Challenge. You can sign up here.
 
What is it?
 
It’s simple.  But it works.
Every day for five days, we’ll get on a live session . . . and me, PLUS TWO THEATERMAKER SUPERSTARS, will give you a specific strategy, productivity tip, secret, resource or something we’re doing to make sure we have our best year of theatermaking yet . . . that you can apply to your theatermaking too.
There will be tips on writing, directing, acting, mindset, and more.
Who are the those other TheaterMakers?
 
You can see them all on this page, but the action-taking, inspirational TheaterMakers you’ll be hearing from include:
 
 
I chose each one of them, because, I’m a fan of their talent and a SUPER fan of how they have achieved their success . . . by acknowledging fear, conquering it, and taking charge of their work, their art and their lives.
 
And boom. Look what happens when they do.
 
I’ll be honest . . . while I’m super excited about how the tips from these TheaterMakers will help you have your best 2021 yet . . . I’m just as excited about how they will help me! 🙂
 
In addition to the private livestream strategy sessions for five days straight, you’ll get access to a private facebook group with fellow TheaterMakers who are also taking charge of their year.
 
You’ll also get some homework, so be ready.
 
But I also guarantee that if you do that homework, you’ll be on the path to your best year yet.
Oh, and prizes.  We’ll be giving away fun theatermaking tools every day.
 
So . . . if you’re a writer, producer, actor, director, designer, or any kind of TheaterMaker . . . or not yet a TheaterMaker but WANT to be one . . . click here to sign up for the challenge. It’s totally free. And we’re even going to give away some stuff.
 
In just five days, you’ll be on your way to your best year of theatermaking yet.
 
And when the year is over, we’ll look back and flip off 2020 and say, “See what I can do when I take charge of my year?”
 
Click here to sign up and start your year off right.

The challenge starts in 13 days!

The Top 10 Best Broadway Moments of 2020: PART II

Hello and happy New Year, everybody!
 
As we all prepare to forge ahead . . . I’m still stuck in 2020!  I mean, why not. It was soooo much fun, let’s hang out here a wee bit more, shall we?
Ok, ok.  I get it.  Stop throwing the e-tomatoes.  I’ll be quick.
 
Today you get Part II of my “Top 10 Best Broadway Moments of 2020”. Then, I promise, we can move the eff on.
 
Let’s get to it!
 
(To see Part I of my Top 10 Best Broadway Moments #1-5 click here.)
 
6. A Prime Time Special

It took a pandemic for another network (besides our loyal friends at CBS) to give us an hour-long variety special . . . hosted by none other than Tina Fey! “One Night Only: The Best of Broadway” was a gift from the NBC gods.  From the Jersey Boys opening to a number from Hamilton as well as performances from new shows like Jagged Little Pill, interviews with our stars like Rob McClure, a peek into the process of making a show, and more . . . this show did its job.  It was a rest stop on this long highway of getting Broadway back up and running again.  Now, NBC, what do we have to do to convince you to do this event next year??? (You can watch the special here on demand.)

7. The Shubert Theater Board Room Shake Up
 
The Shubert Organization is like the monarchy of the Broadway theater world.  It’s the oldest.  It’s steeped in tradition.  It controls the most real estate.  And with an institution that is as large and powerful as that, change often comes slowly.  That’s why I was thrilled to see Pamela Newkirk, a journalist, scholar and Black woman, added to its board of directors.  And just in case you thought this was a symbolic addition to its knights-of-the-round-table like board . . . read on.  Pamela’s most famous work thus far is a book called . . . wait for it . . .  Diversity Inc.: The Failed Promise of Billion-Dollar Business.  So yeah, The Shuberts knew what they were getting into when they added her to their inner circle.  And they’re obviously embracing it.  It’s a leap ahead for the org and our industry.
8. The TheaterMakers Summit
 
I wasn’t going to put The Summit on this list, because obviously I’m a bit biased, having founded The TheaterMakers Studio and its yearly conference.  But I did, because to be honest, the success of this year’s Summit had nothing to do with me. 
The success was because of the 100 (!) speakers and 1000 attendees who came brimming with optimism and excitement about how Broadway could be even better when we come back.  It was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen, never mind helped put together!  Even I walked away with 5 pages of notes from these A-list speakers on how I can make more theater and better theater!

So, I put it on the list.  You can see the inspiring and action-initiating talks here.

Oh, and yes, we are doing it again next year.  We already have a theme!  Ready?  It’s . . . “Places, please.” 🙂  Learn more here.

 
9. Prepare Ye for Godspell at The Berkshire Theater Group
 

Ok, let’s be honest.  Producers and Theaters are still figuring out how they are going to do theater THIS coming summer!  And yet Berkshire Theater Group and it’s formidable leader, Kate Maguire,  pulled it off LAST summer!

Godspell was the first production in the country to receive approval for production by Actors Equity . . . and even though the show had to pivot 147 times (including a last-minute change to present it outside), they pulled it off.  And they got multiple NY Times articles as a result!  While press attention wasn’t the goal, it did prove again that figuring out how to do something when no one else can, can get you a lot of attention.  Luckily, because of the leadership of Ms. Maguire, that attention was all positive.

We owe this theater and Kate a debt for not just dreaming about a production, but by doing one.  It inspired us to all to figure out how we can do it too.
 
10. Diana . . . and we haven’t even seen it yet!
 
One of my most-liked posts on Instagram this year was this one . . . a shot of me outside the Longacre theater as Diana, a new musical that hasn’t even opened on Broadway, was performing for cameras inside.
Netflix has been our fairy godmother this year, giving us Boys in the Band, The Prom and more.  But its biggest bet on Broadway this year was putting hundreds of TheaterMakers on a new musical BACK to work, and shooting Diana, on stage, for release in 2021.  Before anyone knows if it’s going to be a hit or not!  Not only could this help Diana build an audience before it opensbut if this works for Netflix, it could be the start of a brand new business model for developing new musicals.  Yep, you heard it here first . . . the streamed show BEFORE that show opens, could become the new concept album (like Jesus Christ Superstar, Waitress, etc.), that develops a show’s fanbase and therefore a marketing foundation.
And there they are . . . my favorite moments of 2020!  (Part I is here if you need to go back.)
And now, let’s get the @#$% out of this year and make 2021 the best that anyone of us has ever seen.  Broadway and the theater will be back.  And boy oh boy are the ovations at those first shows going to be enormous.
See you there.
Happy New Year everyone.
– – – – –
Speaking of “next,” my next blog will be on Tuesday, January 5th . . . and it’s going to be about a new survey about the vaccine and what that means for our start date.  Click here to make sure you get it first.

The Top 10 Best Broadway Moments of 2020 (yes, there really were 10): PART I

Boy oh boy was this blog an exercise in how to find a bright spot (or 10) in the darkest of all times.
 
Broadway shut down in 2020. Something it has never done. Like ever. How could there be ANY “best” of Broadway when its stages were dark?
 
Well, that’s the thing.
 
What we learned this year is that you can turn the lights out on Broadway . . . but the light never goes out on Broadway.
 
Thanks to the ingenuity, imagination, and a Braveheart-like refusal to give up of TheaterMakers and their fans (see #3), the theater is still alive . . . and kick-ball-changin’.
 
From streaming shows in living rooms, to drive-in theater, to board room shakeups and crowd-sourced musicals, this was a helluva active year for a year in which we couldn’t act.
 
And years from now, when we look back at this elongated intermission, I predict it will be one of the most important and impactful years in our history.
 
What stood out as my 10 favorite moments? The moments that made me smile, made me proud, and make me want to double down on this biz, rather than give it all up? (Because be honest – who among us didn’t think about throwing in the make-up towel at least a half a dozen times over the past year?)
 
Here are my 10 Best Broadway moments of 2020 in no particular order:
 
1. Hamilton hits Disney+
 
The film and theater industry were still buzzing about the $75mm Disney paid for Hamilton . . . when the studio announced the mega hit would go straight to Disney+.
“But what about the Academy Awards? What about all those people who might not see the show live? Is it too early in the show’s lifecycle to put it out there?”
 
I’m sure the players debated those questions like the founding fathers fought at the Constitutional congress. But they released it anyway. And not only did it make the show accessible, and keep it and Broadway top of mind, but it officially made streaming a thing. Because when the popular kid does something, everyone else follows.
 
Expect more streaming shows (finally!) in the next five years.
 
2. The Broadway Advocacy Coalition Forums
 
Like many industries, the theater had a racial reckoning this year, taking a deep long look at itself in the mirror . . . and not liking what it saw. Because we’re a liberal and progressive art form, it’s easy for us to say, “Oh, that’s not an issue here.”
 
Thanks to the many organizations and individuals who had the courage to step up and say, “Stop talking and start listening,” we now know this issue, like the coronavirus itself, is everywhere.
 
And it’s time we take serious steps to eradicate it.
 
There were two things that slapped me into self-realization. The first, this article by Asmeret Ghebremichael and her subsequent interview with me.
 
And the second was the Broadway Advocacy Coalition Forums, especially their “Day of Listening.”
 
I’ll never forget co-founder Britton Smith’s opening remarks . . . his passion . . . his authenticity . . . honesty. It was one of the best displays of leadership by a change agent I have ever seen.  
 
And then there were the stories that followed from Britton, Amber Iman, and others, that all shocked me to my center.
 
See, I’ll admit.  I was one of those people who thought I understood this issue a little better than most. Since starting my career as a company manager, I worked on several “diverse” shows on Broadway that dealt with race. Two of my shows even won diversity awards. So, yeah, prior to this summer, if you asked me how much I knew about this issue, I’d say I was like a 6 or 7 out of 10.
 
And Broadway Advocacy Coalition helped me realize . . . I didn’t know a @#$%ing thing.
 
I was so grateful for these forums. And I knew the 5,000 other people who tuned in are too. Because I know more now. And I also know I have a whole lot more to know.  And I vow to keep listening, learning and taking those steps.
 
If you haven’t seen the forums, click here. And I recommend bookmarking them and rewatching them whenever you have a free moment.  
 
3. The TikTok Heard ‘Round The World
 
“The world’s gonna know your name . . .what’s your name, man?”
Forget Hamilton.  Forget Roxie. The name on everyone’s lips and in everyone’s feeds . . . is Ratatouille!!!!!!!!!
 
There are so many amazing elements to the Ratatouille story. A single TikTok video of a young woman making up a song for a hypothetical musical, was like a butterfly flapping its wings in cyberspace. And it caused a musical tsunami.
 
It united a generation of musical lovers and future TheaterMakers, who all joined in . . . and crowdsourced a musical.
 
But they didn’t just make the music. TikTokers made costumes, puppets, choreography and more. I couldn’t help but join in on the fun, and offered a few tag lines (this original video of mine has been seen almost 2 million times!).
 
But what’s amazing is that the powers-that-be recognized the powers-that-will-be . . . and they approved a production of Ratatouille for the Actors Fund!
 
That’s right, the first ever crowdsourced musical on social media will make its debut tomorrow night!  Get your ticket here.
 
If you were ever worried that the next generation wasn’t interested in seeing musicals or making musicals, fear not. The Ratatouille movement proves that our future isn’t ratty at all.
 
(Oh, and PS, TikTok is now officially a thing – especially if you want a younger audience.)
 
4. Seth Rudestky and James Wesley’s “Stars In The House”
 
When Broadway got shut down, I started emailing people I knew to figure out how we could stream something . . . anything. And one of those people was Seth.
 
He responded tout-suit and told me he was already working on something.  And in his quick email, I could already hear how hard he was working to give something to fans, and give something back to our community.
 
He turned his webcam on the next day.
 
Since then, Stars in the House, his twice daily (!) part interview, part performance, variety, reunion and more streamed show, has raised over $620,000 for The Actors Fund.  $620,000!!!
 
Oh, and the show is also hysterical, moving and more.
 
Would you ever have imagined that a couple of guys in their living room could make this kind of impact?  I could.  If Seth was behind it.
5.  For Nick.
 
How can a tragedy like the loss of Nick Cordero be one of our best moments?
 
Because Nick became a symbol . . . something that the industry could rally around at a time when we didn’t have much to rally around. And his wife’s overwhelming spirit . . . her love for her husband inspiring people to get up and dance . . . to sing together, to pray together . . . was one of the most unifying moments of the past year and a half.
 
Often it is a tragedy that brings people together. I hate that. I just hate it. Especially for Amanda and her little boy Elvis.  But Nick is now a saint in our industry.  And he will be a symbol for all of us to do what that song of his advised . . . to live your life.
 
You can watch a tribute to Nick from some of Broadway’s best here.  
 
For my other 5 Best Broadway Moments of 2020, check out tomorrow’s blog.  Or click here and have it emailed straight to you.

[Zoom Strategy Session] In case you did NOT get what you wanted from Santa.

I’m not surprised.
 
Whenever I talk to TheaterMakers about what they want . . . money never comes up.  No one talks about royalties and selling the movie rights or their share of the merch.
 
All writers, producers, directors want for Christmas (and every other time of year) is to see their shows on a stage. 
Sound like you?
 
You want to hear the actors delivering the lines. You want to hear singers singing your songs. 
 
And you want to hear the applause, laughter, or tears that follow.
 
And I get it. Because that’s all I want too.
 
It’s all I ever wanted.
 
When I was starting out, I pursued a lot of the “traditional” ways to get produced. And . . . they didn’t work. (I’m sure you can relate.)
 
And boy was I frustrated.
 
Then Hal Prince took me to task.
 
Yep, I got a talking-to from the 21-time Tony Award . . . who also shared with me his secrets of seeing your shows on a stage.
 
And, well, when you get advice from a guy like that, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that the stuff worked.
 
In fact, every single thing I’ve done in my career so far (and every thing I WILL do) is because of what he taught me that day.
 
The moment his advice started to work, I vowed to share it. To help other TheaterMakers like me see their shows on stage.
 
That’s why I started blogging, podcasting, and it’s why I’m reviving a webinar I did earlier this year . . . with a twist.
 
This Wednesday, December 30th at 8 PM Eastern, join me for a free Zoom Strategy Session entitled, “Get Produced in 2021!” I’ll share the “key” that Hal gave me almost twenty years ago, and the formula that I use to see my shows on stage today.
 
 
And I hope you’ll join, whether you are a TheaterMaker just starting out and have a script (or two!) in a drawer. Or if you’re a veteran who knows your stuff is great, and you can’t understand why it hasn’t received the visibility it deserves. (I’ll explain the issue – which has nothing to do with you.)
 
 
2021 is right around the corner. And there is no question there WILL be shows on stages this year.
 
The only question is . . . will yours be one of them?
So if you haven’t gotten what you REALLY wanted from Santa, join me for this session.
 
Get Produced in 2021
Free Zoom Strategy Session
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
8 PM ET
 
 
– – – – –
 
P.S. Full disclosure . . . at the end of this free training session, I am going to share a very special offer for you to join The TheaterMakers Studio. Something The Studio doesn’t advertise but I asked them to come up with.
 
See, after almost ten years of running training for TheaterMakers, we now KNOW for a fact what works. We analyzed our success stories and cross referenced what they have in common. Then, we took those things and put them in this offer. Because we know TheaterMakers need more resources now that EVER. Oh, and if you’re already a member, you’ll get the same opportunity. Because this is about getting as many people produced in 2021 as possible. We’ve got some ground to make up!
 
If you don’t want the offer, no worries, the Strategy Session is free. But I didn’t want you to be surprised about the offer.
 
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